Crime statistics for Fernie and Sparwood have been released by the Elk Valley RCMP, with Sgt. Trevor Tribes updating the two councils on activity over the three months between July and September this year.
In Fernie, total criminal code offenses are steady at 92 over the three months, compared to 93 at the same time in 2019. There were 395 calls for service compared to 401 in July-September 2019.
Drilling down on the statistics, crimes against persons were down to 14 from 26, criminal code property offenses were down to 49 from 56 while under “other” offenses which include causing disturbances, Sgt. Tribes reported instances were up to 26 from 11.
Sgt. Tribes explained that disturbance calls were usually to do with people fighting in stores or on the street. “Generally speaking not serious offenses, and quite often police (are) called to keep the peace.”
Of note, under bylaw offenses, the number of noise complains was up significantly to 25 calls for service, compared to 14 at the same time last year.
“12 of the noise complains were from loud parties that were reported between 11pm and 2am,” said Sgt. Tribes. “5 of the complaints were attributed to complaints in shares accommodations.”
Sgt. Tribes said the complains appeared to show that many were not adhering to public health advice.
“The nightclubs and the bars are not open as late, so the BBQs and the house parties … despite what public health is encouraging people to do, they are continuing.”
He said that as the RCMP had no enforcement directives on public health and gatherings (as of Nov. 16), responding officers could only ask people to turn down the noise and educate people about public health recommendations and “encourage people to be mindful of the pandemic we’re all experiencing right now.”
On traffic offenses, turns out there are a lot of folks in Fernie talking on their phones as they drive around town, with eight tickets given for using an electronic device while driving in the City of Fernie in September alone.
Over the quarter there were 16 collisions reported, down from 18 last year.
The statistics out of Sparwood are trending in different directions, with 77 criminal code offenses between July and September, up from 67 at the same time last year, while calls for service were similarly up to 307 compared to 266 in 2019.
Sgt. Tribes reported that stats were “overall up in several areas” in the district, with crimes against persons up to 22 from 16, criminal code property offenses up to 36 from 35, and “other” offenses up to 19 from 16.
Sgt. Tribes against touched on domestic violence offenses, commenting that of the 3 assaults, 1 assault causing bodily harm and 1 sex assault reported, “those are all rising from domestic violence issues.
“Sparwood, like any other community in this province…domestic violence lives here.”
On road traffic, he reported that collisions were up significantly within the District of Sparwood in the quarter, up to 21 reported incidents compared to 9 at the same time last year.
Of those incidents, 7 involved a collision with an animal, 2 were hit and runs, 1 was an impaired driving incident, another 1 was a “possible” impaired driving incident, 3 incidents of parked vehicles being hit, 1 collision at the intersection of Michel Creek Rd and Hwy. 43, 2 read-end collisions, 1 incident caused by plyboard falling off the back of a truck, a single-vehicle incident of a vehicle driving off road into a ditch, and 1 unattended hit-and-run which “turned out to be a motorist from Alberta.”
Sgt. Tribes also reported the incident of a tractor-trailer jack-knifing off Hwy. 3 on Aug. 18 was included within the Sparwood statistics.
Sparwood residents were again said to be chatty behind the wheel. “There’s no shortage of people out there talking on their cellphone while driving,” said Sgt. Tribes.
Noise complaints were slightly down for the district, with 6 incidents reported over the quarter.
“5 were related to private residences, and 1 from a party at the highschool … (there was) a bit of a shindig going on in the parking lot.”
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